Project 365: All caught up, and a birthday present for me!

by DaniGirl on August 6, 2011 · 3 comments

in Photo of the Day

It took three posts about 365 this week to do it, but I’m finally all caught up. Yay! And sorry for the glut of pictures this week. Well, not really. All these years, I’ve always said that I can only blog what’s in my head, and my brain is pretty much entirely in the shape of a camera body these days!

One of the things I never did get around to blogging this week is that it was my birthday on Monday. It gives me a certain geeky delight to finally be the answer to Douglas Adams’ Life, the Universe and Everything — 42!! And my birthday present from my parents, Beloved and the boys was something I’ve coveted for a long time, a Lensbaby Composer Pro lens!

What’s a Lensbaby? It’s a creative effects lens that turns on (in the case of the Composer line) a ball and socket, allowing you to selectively focus. You know how you can blur the background with a shallow depth of field by opening your aperture up as wide as possible, aka using the smallest f-stop number? With that, you can only blur out things in the frame that are behind or in front of your flat plane of focus. The Lensbaby allows you to blur out things in the same plane, and you can move the “sweet spot” of focus around the frame by twisting the ball and socket part of the lens. It gives a very dreamy kind of look to pictures, and a bit of a stretched perspective to the very edges of the frame.

It took a bit of getting used to it. This first picture I took was of Katie (since she was my first “baby” she seemed like a good first subject for my Lensbaby!) and while you can see the selective focus at work, it’s not a stunning example of the lens at its best. The sweet spot is about half way up her snout, and with an ordinary lens using a small depth of field, her paw should be in focus, too, because it’s the same distance from the camera as her nose.

222:365 Lensbaby Katie

The thing about the Lensbaby is that it’s a partly manual lens — you set the aperture from a set of magnetic rings you actually drop into the camera (so no changing apertures on the fly) and you can set your camera to aperture priority mode so that the camera chooses the shutter speed. I found, though, that the exposures were a little hit-and-miss and I’ve switched over to manual mode a few times to get better control. The hardest part, though, is controlling the focus. I used to be quite adept at manual focusing, because with my D40 and my 50mm lens, I had to manually focus all my shots. I’ve gotten lazier, or older, or less able to focus, though, and the manual focus thing is a little tiring. Worse, though, is figuring out whether the subject I’m trying to focus on is actually in the sweet spot or maybe I’ve got the sweet spot pointed somewhere else and the spot that I’m peering at will never actually resolve no matter how much I tinker with the focus. It’s definitely a learning curve. But when you get shots like this one, I think it’s more than worth it.

224:365 Lensbaby farm

And when I went poking around Watson’s Mill one perfectly still and perfectly gorgeous summer morning, the Lensbaby and I had a grand old time. Lensbaby + Watson’s Mill + perfect summer morning = bliss.

223:365 Reflections of Watson's Mill

Speaking of summer, is this not a perfect summer picture? I planted two whole packages of sunflowers this year, and even sprouted one inside (it was a Mother’s Day gift) and transplanted the seedling into the garden. You know how many sunflowers I got this year? None. Apparently while I may take pretty good pictures, I suck as a gardener. Lucky for me, there are publicly consumable sunflowers available!

221:365 I love summer

Thank goodness, there are perennials in the garden that don’t require any care from me, like these yellow daisies.

217:365 yellow daisy

I took this picture at about a quarter to six one morning while I was studying for my French test, and at the end of the day realized that I hadn’t picked up my camera again for the whole day – and so this became the picture of the day, my bedheaded boy.

218:365 Bed head

Apparently sleep was an unconscious theme this week!

219:365 Yawn

And finally, last but certainly not least… I mentioned that Monday was my birthday, right? What better way to spend a birthday than doing porch portraits of the two-week old son of a friend? Baby N is by far the youngest visitor to grace the porch, and he wasn’t really interested in being posed. Holy cats, the newborn photography thing is a LOT harder than it looks. We did manage to get a few good shots, though, and while we tried to get him all tucked up on top of the scale (his mom is hovering about half an inch outside the frame) that last leg would not stay put — and in the end, I kind of like it dangling like that. Isn’t he perfect? I think I might need another baby after spending time with him. Um, don’t tell Beloved.

220:365 Baby N

From Lensbabies to lovely babies, it was a photogenic week!


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Charlene burnside August 6, 2011 at 9:21 am

The scale pix is precious.His dangly leg is perfect, nice job!

2 Paula August 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm

After being without home internet for 3 weeks (due to an upgrade project by our provider that went completely off the rails) I am still trying to catch up with my blogging buddies. Sincere belated birthday wishes to you Dani! Your gift from your parents is wonderful and you are certainly make the most of it. Love all the photographs. All the best for a fantastic year šŸ˜‰

3 Shireen August 6, 2011 at 7:35 pm

What a super birthday gift! In the dog pic, I see what you mean about selective focus. I loved the sunflower pic with the flower popping up into the frame, and the kitten made me laugh. I agree with Charlene, the dangly leg is perfect.

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